GPF News Archive

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Hey, there, gang. I'm breaking the deafening silence to announce that GPF will be on hiatus beginning Monday, October 3rd, and will return on Monday, October 31st. That's pretty much the entire month of October, and the hiatus will last for four weeks. There will be additional filler content during this break, just has there has been during previous breaks. I was originally intending to start Year Twenty-Four on November 7th, but have decided to move up the official start of that "year" one week. Year Twenty-Four will be the final GPF "mega-arc" that will wrap up the entire series, with the intention of GPF formally coming to and end at the end of October 2024.

That's the gist. If you want more gory details, feel free to keep reading.

At this point, it should no longer be a surprise that I'm intending to bring GPF to a close. This was first announced publicly in the November 2, 2020 News post, and there's a "mini-FAQ" there that remains relevant. In the previous News post (October 4, 2021), I gave a number of reasons for the previous hiatus, many of which are also still relevant. My health has been fairly stable, but I'm not getting any younger. The comic buffer is in great shape, but the current story came to a natural end sooner than I expected, giving me little room to sneak in another good one. And, I could really use a break from drawing, especially since the last hiatus was the last "vacation" I had. (We went on a family vacation earlier this year, but I still ended up writing and drawing my normal quota while away from home.)

There is one other reason for this break, which ties the two thoughts above together. While the other factors remain in effect, the main reason for this hiatus is to devote hard-core dedicated time to scripting GPF's big finale. For the past three "mega-arcs" (Surrpetitious Machinations, To Thine Own Self..., and Scylla and Charybdis), I started loose scripting for these far-reaching stories well in advance, putting down basic plot details and formulating an outline at least a year or two before they officially began. This gave them time to evolve, lending me opportunities to sneak in hints and foreshadowing into the "regular" stories I was working on at the same time. I think this really shows with Scylla and Charybdis, which I think is some of my best GPF writing to date.

I... haven't had much time to do this with GPF's swan song. In recent years, my responsibilities at the day job have increased, affording me less idle time to let my mind wander to creative efforts. And given the health and age reasons previously mentioned, I have less energy to devote to creative projects once I log off. I've managed to keep GPF going, but I haven't had much time to do advanced planning. Now that the big finale is looming on the horizon, I need to either cram in some serious, dedicated time to making it a worthy ending, or I need to wing it by the seat of my pants and see what happens.

"Seat of the pants" scripting may work well for other webcartoonists, but not me.

When the current story ended in a natural way earlier than I expected, it made me look hard at the impending schedule. I saw two possible options: (1) I could throw together a quick four-week, twelve-strip story that would probably be funny and not move the plot along very much, but go into the "big finale" with little more than the scattered notes I've collected so far; or (2) I could take the opportunity to step away, devote myself to really writing the finale, and (hopefully) come up with something cohesive and comprehensible, but sacrificing a month of updates. I had actually considered organizing the finale as a collection of smaller stories strung together and not bothering with a big, final "mega-arc", but somehow that didn't feel right. This is the big resolution of multiple plot threads, including—and especially—how/when/if our heroes finally make it home to Earth. If that doesn't scream "MEGA-ARC!", I don't know what does.

So the current plan for my September is to set up a hiatus buffer of filler content for October, then devote the rest of the month to writing the finale in earnest. The hiatus buffer shouldn't take long to build, as I already have code in place to handle it. I just need to adjust the dates and prep the files. Most likely, the hiatus filler will be previously exclusive content, although as of this writing I'm not sure what it will entail. There over two decades of Sketchbook updates I could mine, as well as other exclusives from our out-of-print book collections. All of these are currently available to GPF Premium subscribers, but not to the general public.

Once the buffer is prepped, I'll devote my normal drawing time to building the finale outline and fleshing it out. I'm not comfortable with how compressed this timeline is compared to the previous "mega-arcs", but I don't see many other options. I would much rather the finale be a single, cohesive whole than a loose collection of stories. I do have some notes on things I want to accomplish, and decent idea on what note I want to end on. What I really need is to pull all of this together into a single unit, and now that I have a deadline, I have the motivation and time to make it work.

So I appreciate your patience and understanding as I work through this. Make sure to come back as usual every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in October to see something new on the front page. Premium subscribes should continue to expect new Sketchbook updates every Monday, as that buffer is already queued up and ready to go. As usual, feel free to drop me a line and give your thoughts, although do forgive me if I don't always have time to respond.

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